Something Incredible Happened Yesterday

I have always said that my swing model work was ahead of my personal ability to execute it – you can’t work on everything at once, and if I was working with others on their swings, and perfecting the MCS optimal model, then something was going to suffer.

For me, that’s always been my personal swing, but yesterday I took the step to what is perhaps the last adjustment I’ll ever make to my swing action, and that was to bring it in line with the model as far as the hand action on the back swing pivot.

I also would state that I was both correct and incorrect when I stated that “It doesn’t matter if the club shaft ‘crosses the line’ at the top.”

I was incorrect in that I didn’t see the difference in doing it one way versus the other, when it fact there is a significant difference – but I was correct in stating that it doesn’t matter if the top position has the shaft across the line (the line parallel to the target line, that is).

When you get a wrist action that has a big cup in the left wrist (for a right-handed swinger), you will have the tendency for the club shaft to cross the line, especially with high hands:

Nancy Lopez

When you don’t have a big wrist cup, you will get the tendency for the club shaft to not cross the line, and with a bowed left wrist, you’ll create the appearance of a “short” back swing:

Jon Rahm

However if you look at Rahm’s hands at the top, it’s still a full back swing, just with a flatter plane and less wrist cock (the more you cup the wrist, the more you’ll be able to cock them, producing a longer-looking back swing).

So, on Saturday, while going over any possible differences that may exist between my own swing and the actual model, I said, “Now what if I just decrease the big wrist cock I’m used to making, and try a little flatter arm going back with the most simple wrist action I can make…”

The difference in my wrist action, which I tried for the first time yesterday, was profound in result, while it didn’t produce a visual difference of much note, although there is some.

Now, I will preface the story I’m about to tell by stating that there was a strong tail wind at the range yesterday, but I only practice at that facility, so I know exactly what the ball will do when the wind is blowing in any of the directions it blows at different times.

Regardless, after I’d made a couple of practice swings and hit a couple of balls to get used to the difference in feel (it felt so flat that I could have swung under a table going back, but that’s just the feel because of the change in what I’m used to), I began to get proper contact.

After a few balls to the left, I checked the club face at address and realized that the extra cock in the wrist with my old swing produced a “pulling” motion on the down swing, and this shocked me, because I was sure I had no compensating moves in my swing any more.

But it seems I did!

It took less than 10 balls, and then the shocking part occurred – I was simply aiming at a flag to get my line, and even with the tentative swings I was making, I began to smoke the ball to the flag, which I thought was out of reach, even with the following wind.

As you can see below, once I got out the camera, the club shaft isn’t going as far as it would have with my regular swing, but it still crosses the line at the top, but not by as much as before…

9 Iron

Anyway, back to the tale – I grabbed my range finder – wow, the flag I was going at was 180 yards!

And following wind or not, I wasn’t swinging particularly hard, it was just that the balls were jumping off the club face, and the sound

I switched to the 5 iron, and again, while aiming at the furthest flag on the range (I lasered it at 260), it took a few swings to get used to the difference in feel, and then POW! I was hitting my 5 iron just short of the green.

5 Iron

It’s been a long time since I surprised myself hitting irons, let me tell you.

“This can’t be happening,” I muttered to myself, and went for the driver.

The driver took another few balls to settle down (there is a difference in the timing of the down swing, so I would tend to pull everything left until I just swing down and through), but get this – my top ball speed with the driver just a few days back was 187 mph.

Yesterday, while just making swings and trying to hit the ball on my line, I was in the mid-170s with a high of 180 mph… I was just amazed.

Driver – Still Across the Line, But Flatter Left Wrist…

I simply wasn’t swinging hard, being more intent on feeling what was happening, and on getting solid contact, but the elimination of my big wrist cock at the top let me just sling the club down and into the bottom with less effort and a good deal more acceleration than with the big wrist cock.

So, it’s not whether or not you’re crossing the line that is the issue with the top position on the back swing, but rather what you’re doing with the wrists and hands.

My big wrist cock is a deliberate action, which makes it a “move,” and you don’t want any “moves” in your swing action except the dead simplest one, so I thought about the simplest wrist and hand action, and then did it.

And it was spectacular, let me tell you!

This just goes to prove what I’ve been saying all along – you may never have a “perfect” swing, but the MCS optimal model is what you’re working off of, and the closer you get to that model, the better you will swing

That applies to me as well, and although the new wrist position at the top feels strange, it won’t after a few days, and this is why most people never make lasting changes in their swing – they don’t do it long enough to get used to the feeling and they go back to what “feels better.”

Well, the only thing that “feels better” to me is when I make swings and everything goes right – nothing “felt better” than what I was doing yesterday, results-wise.

It felt weird, sure – it’s different from what I’ve been used to doing, but the results were enough to ensure I will never swing the other way again, deliberately cupping the wrist at the top, unless I’m swinging a long drive club:

And I’ll tell you all – I actually hit some balls with the long driver yesterday, trying the same thing, and was in the low-180’s – so I would bet you that the key to my reaching 200 mph with my long drive clubs lies in the flatter wrist – it won’t “look” as long, but there will not be any manipulation coming down and through.

And this is my point – the fact that I was hitting everything left at first when I flattened my wrist means that I still had some pulling turn in my down swing – looking at my right foot through impact on the above swings from yesterday tells me that.

In fact, the big wrist cock and pulling likely has to do with the fact that I’m left-handed and swing right-handed – flattening the wrist makes it a more right-handed action, and there’s the increase in speed and power right off the bat.

Personally, I’ve always had issues with my swing plane, being left-handed and a “puller” from the top, but I said recently that I don’t really think about my plane any more… and if I were to be pulled over by the Swing Plane Police for a spot-check inspection:

“Nothing To See Here, You’re Free To Go, Sir…”

Just something that may be of interest to those trying to make their swings as simple as possible – the good news is that this is all part of the standard model, and better than just saying how to do it, the upcoming video will show the simplest hand action.

So, the “E = MCS” title of the upcoming video refers to several different “equations” in the golf swing.

For the hands and arms, you have the simplest hand action, combined with the simplest arm action.

Combine them with the simplest pivot action of the hips and legs, the Ben Hogan-inspired “perfect pivot” action, and you have the MCS optimal model that will be described in the upcoming video.

The big wrist cock is not mechanically-unsound or incorrect – it’s a natural action of the wrists, which can cock with a cupped left hand or a flat one, or a bowed one like Dustin Johnson’s.

Nothing mechanically dangerous – if you’re doing it and you wish to keep doing it, you’re not doing anything that will harm you.

But the flatter wrist is part of the motion of an optimal action, and if you want to increase your efficiency and performance, especially under the gun, when pressure will effect the timing and coordination (how did Justin Thomas do with that “jumping foot” swing move after his -9 round, when the pressure was on yesterday?), then this is definitely something that you may want to look at.

I’m willing to change a part of my swing at a moment’s notice if I discover or learn that the change will improve my swing.

I have at times in my life swung with a flat wrist, and I began to cup it at some time and got used to it, but I’m not married to it.

And if the cupped wrist thought that I was – consider this a divorce!


8 thoughts on “Something Incredible Happened Yesterday

  1. Jonas

    *rubbing hands together*

    Have to say I’ve derived much benefit from your blogging videos, DJ. Looking forward to this latest work. Thanks for your efforts!


  2. jh32

    I remember years ago I revamped my swing to a shorter swing with, what felt like, no wrist cock. Not the Steve Stricker, club sticking up in the air (JD Holmes) type, just a turn back and almost freeze the hand action in position. I would get to 90 degrees but it felt 3/4 of a swing. I could kill the ball and shape shots with just the setup change in stance. The only problem was with the stiff wrist, I hit a root one day, and that ended that. May have to work on what you talk about here. Thanks for the hard work. Jim

    1. D Watts Post author

      Very welcome and thanks for the support, Jim!

      One point however – I’m not making a “no wrist cock” move here, and if I gave that impression with my wording above, I’ll edit it.

      What I meant was a “no cupping the wrist” cocking, but you’re still cocking the wrist, because it’s a 90 degree angle between the left forearm and the club shaft and you even mention getting to 90 degrees.

      So perhaps it’s just a wording issue between us, but I would definitely cock the wrists fully, just not with the cupping:

      You can cock the wrists with a cupped left wrist, or flat or bowed one. If you remember my earliest MCS videos I talked about a flat left wrist at the top, when I was studying MA’s swing model. I’ll be showing the various differences in the upcoming video.

      Shouldn’t be too much longer before I’m into the editing phase! 😀

      1. jh32

        No, you stated it clearly, and I understood what you meant. I was relaying the feeling I had vs. what I was doing. So yes, I want that flat wrist cock also.

  3. targettom

    yeah I wrote a couple posts about flattening the wrist a couple months ago here – works for me, but it has taken a while to make it stick

    1. D Watts Post author

      It’s like anytime you make a change – takes time for it to become natural-feeling, and too many people don’t do it long enough to get there.

      Here’s the thing – even an unnatural or unsound move will feel natural if you’ve been doing it long enough.

      Many golfers who try to swing with the hips and legs after restricting the hip turn for years will never get there, because they “feel” the swing is too loose with the hips moving.

      So, good for you sticking with it!

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